Now wake the terrors of the place, beset
With crowding and malignant fiends. The flames
From funeral pyres scarce lend their sullen light,
Clogged with their fleshy prey, to dissipate
The fearful gloom that hems them round.
Well, be it so. I seek, and must address them.
How the noise…………………………………
High, shrill, and indistinct, of chattering sprites,
Communicative fills the charnel ground:
Strange forms like foxes flit along the sky.
From the red hair of their lank bodies darts
The meteor blaze: Or from their mouths that stretch
From ear to ear thickest with numerous fangs,
Or eyes, or beards, or brows, the radiance streams.
And now I see the goblin host: each stalks
On legs like palm-trees: a gaunt skeleton,
Whose fleshless bones are bound by starting sinews,
And scantly cased in black and shrivelled skin,
Like tall and withered trees by lightning scathed,
They move, and as amidst their sapless trunks
The mighty serpent curls-so each mouth
Wide yawning, lolls the vast blood-dripping tongue.
They mark my coming, and the half-chewed morsel
Falls to the howling wolf-and now they fly.
Extract taken from The people of India volumes 1868-75 Birmingham central library